For the second straight game, the Bayhawks needed more than 60 minutes to decide an outcome.
And for the second straight game Saturday, the Bayhawks lost in overtime — this time to the Hamilton Nationals before an announced 9,157 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Nationals midfielder Jordan Hall rifled a shot past Bayhawks goalie Kip Turner (Severn) 1:55 into overtime to give Hamilton a 12-11 victory in a game that was tied eight times.
Attackman Matt Mackrides had a hat trick and sparked Chesapeake (3-2) to a fourth-quarter comeback with two goals in a 23-second span. But it wasn't enough, as Hamilton's (5-0) Stephen Keogh scored a career-high five goals and Nationals goalie Brett Queener made 17 saves to help them remain unbeaten.
“Losing is no fun, but in that fashion — two weeks ago in Boston and again [Saturday],” Mackrides said. “It definitely hurts a little bit.”
The first quarter featured a frantic pace, with both teams showing their explosiveness. Ben Rubeor split through the middle of the Nationals defense to score two goals in the quarter, but Keogh countered with three goals, and the score was tied at 5 at the end of the period.
The game's pace took a drastic turn in the second quarter, though.
Both teams played more deliberately on offense in the frame and ran less in transition. In the final 8:35 of the half, neither team scored.
Chesapeake struggled to find a groove for much of the contest and failed to score for more than 14 minutes between the second and third quarters. As a result, the team couldn't chip into Hamilton's lead and trailed, 10-8, heading into the fourth quarter.
Though the Bayhawks struggled offensively, they never allowed the Nationals to mount a lead of more than two goals, thanks to Turner and faceoff specialist Adam Rand. Turner stopped 11 of 23 shots and Rand won 16 of 27 faceoffs to help hold Hamilton to its second-lowest scoring total of the season.
“We knew they were going to go on a run, and as we say, ‘bend don't break,' ” Bayhawks midfielder Dan Burns said. “We knew if we could hold them defensively, we'd have a chance.”
Mackrides eventually did put the Bayhawks back in contention with two quick goals to tie the score at 10 three minutes into the fourth quarter.
“The whole game, we were looking for a little spark,” Mackrides said. “I just went out there, and I went back to basics. I tried to break my man down and go to the goal.”
But then the game's pace slowed again as both teams patiently searched for quality chances with time dwindling.
Hall finally broke through for Hamilton, scooping up a ground ball after the Bayhawks failed on a clear. He beat Turner and gave Hamilton an 11-10 lead with 5:15 to play in regulation.
The Bayhawks' Matt Abbott sent the game into overtime less than two minutes later, scoring his only goal of the game on a breakaway to tie the score for an eighth time. While the Bayhawks had competed in an overtime contest two weeks earlier — a 15-14 loss to the Boston Cannons on May 18 — it didn't make them less nervous in Saturday's sudden-death period.
“Your hands start shaking a little more than usual,” Burns said. “Every possession is so crucial.”
The Nationals made the crucial play Saturday night, and it cost the Bayhawks a second straight late-game loss. Now Chesapeake continues into a difficult stretch of the season facing a familiar challenge: responding to an overtime defeat.
“The good thing about [Major League Lacrosse] is you play the next week,” Burns said. “It's tough, but you try and keep a short memory.”